London pre-open: Stocks seen muted after China data

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 14 Aug 2020

London pre-open: Stocks seen muted after China data

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Friday following the release of disappointing Chinese data.
The FTSE 100 was called to open just eight points higher at 6,193.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said the latest retail sales and industrial production numbers from China for the month of July continue to point to a weak recovery in the region.

"Retail sales growth in China hasn't been the same since the country came out of lockdown at the end of February, though optimism over the July numbers had been increasing given recent positive data from the auto sector in July, as well as reports from the likes of Daimler, and Apple talking of some decent rebounds in their Chinese markets.

"Expectations were for a number in the region of 0.1%, which on the face of it still seemed a little on the low side, given the recent decent set of numbers from TenCent, with Alibaba's numbers set to come later today.

"This makes today's negative reading of 1.1% somewhat of a surprise, and shows that the Chinese consumer still remains quite nervous about coming out of hibernation, with the last time we saw a positive reading being the end of last year, when we saw a gain of 8% for December.

"Manufacturing has performed better relative to the Chinese consumer, rebounding to its best level in almost a decade in the various official and private sector PMI's. Industrial production rose 4.8% in July, also slightly below expectations."

Later in the day, the focus will shift to the US, where retail sales figures are due at 1330 BST.

In corporate news, easyJet said its aircraft sale and leaseback programme had raised £608m, at the upper end of forecast guidance, as it bolstered its balance sheet amid the coronavirus crisis.

The budget carrier said it had completed the deal with the sale and leaseback of five Airbus A321neo aircraft for around £203m to BOCOMM Leasing.EasyJet has now raised more than £2.4bn since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it added, including loans and government financing programmes.

Westminster Group swung to a £0.24m first-half profit from a loss of £0.79m a year earlier as revenue increased 24% to £7m despite Covid-19's impact on its aviation security business.


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